Singapore’s ST Telemedia Global Data Centers (STT GDC) and Philippine conglomerate Ayala Group are investing as much as $1 billion to develop a 124-megawatt data centre campus in Metro Manila, marking the latest move by a regional data centre player to expand its footprint in the Southeast Asian nation.
STT GDC Philippines, a joint venture between Temasek-backed STT GDC, Ayala Corp and its telecom unit Globe, broke ground in Fairview, Quezon City on Thursday for a data centre campus spanning 83,000 square metres (893,400 square feet) in gross floor area across four buildings.
“We are seeing rapidly growing demand for high-quality colocation services in the Philippines as both cloud service providers and enterprises alike continually expand their business platforms to meet consumers’ evolving demand for low-latency digital services,” Carlo Malana, chief executive officer of STT GDC Philippines, said in a statement later that day.
Dubbed STT Fairview, the campus is a total investment committed of $1 billion by the partners, and is targeted to open by 2025 with an initial IT capacity of 28MW, according to a company representative who spoke with Mingtiandi on Friday.
Aiming For Hyperscalers
Located within the country’s largest city in the northern part of Metro Manila, the project is designed to provide low-latency colocation solutions for hyperscale and enterprise customers in the country and the rest of Asia.
STT Fairview will also have direct network connections to STT GDC Philippines’ existing 3MW facility in Makati which gives customers access to local and international network service providers, internet exchanges and submarine cable systems.
“With the Philippines’ digital transformation gaining headway, STT GDC’s new facility will be an important addition in the data centre space in the country, where the market is underserved,” said Globe group president and CEO Ernest Cu. “This will provide crucial support for the growing digital industry not just in the country but also in the region, and will set a new standard of environment-friendly data centres in the Philippines.”
The campus will be integrated with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology, advanced analytics as well as liquid-cooled solutions to boost operational efficiency and optimise power consumption.
Formerly called KarmanEdge, the JV was formed in March 2022 through a $350-million partnership, with Globe taking a controlling 50 percent stake while STT GDC keeps 40 percent and Ayala has the remaining 10 percent. Currently the largest publicly-listed telecom operator in the Philippines, Globe is controlled by Ayala and Singapore’s Singtel.
STT Fairview marks the sixth location for STT GDC Philippines alongside three other Metro Manila facilities, one south of the capital in Cavite province, and another in the country’s southernmost metropolis, Davao City, with the existing locations having a combined capacity of 22MW.
The campus is the largest development project ever taken on by STT GDC, which already operates 170 facilities in nine countries globally, including Singapore, the UK, India, China and South Korea.
Bloomberg reported earlier this year that the Temasek-backed operator was considering conducting an initial public offering that could raise over $1 billion, with Singapore and the US as potential listing venues. The firm is also reportedly looking to raise a separate $1 billion in advance of the potential IPO.
Influx of Foreign Players
In explaining their latest Manila expansion, Lionel Yeo, STT GDC’s CEO for Southeast Asia, pointed to the growth potential of the country’s digital market, with hyperscale demand rising and the domestic data centre colocation market projected to grow 25 percent annually in the five years through 2027.
The country’s digital economy – which spans e-commerce, online media, express delivery and digital financial services – is expected to grow by about 20 percent yearly and become a $35 billion market by 2025 mainly due to the burgeoning e-commerce sector, the companies said in the statement citing a 2022 study by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company.
Regional players have been rolling out data centre projects in the country over the past two years, mostly through partnerships with local firms.
In March, Philippine infrastructure conglomerate Megawide teamed up with Singapore operator Evolution Data Centres to begin developing a 69MW facility in Cavite.
The Evolution DC announcement came shortly after Manulife-backed fund manager Arch Capital Management launched its Digital Halo platform at the start of the year with a $500 million campus in Rizal, east of Manila, as its first project.
Last October, the infrastructure arm of Philippine conglomerate Aboitiz Group formed a JV with EQT-backed EdgeConneX to develop and operate data centres in the country, starting with a pair of facilities in Metro Manila of 20MW each or more.
In May 2022, another unit of Ayala, AyalaLand Logistics Holdings Corp, formed a JV with Hong Kong-based PAG’s Flow Digital Infrastructure, with a goal of developing an initial 4.5MW facility.